How to Develop a USP (Unique Sales Proposition)

cartoon develop your use and stand out from the crowd

Most companies want to be the best in their industry. But with everyone jostling for position, you really just end up with a whole pile of … sameness.

At that point, being ‘the best’ loses all meaning and nothing really stands out of the crowd.

So instead of trying to be the best, why not try simply to be different?

cartoon of person standing out from the crowd by developing a use

This is why it’s important to develop a USP (Unique Sales Proposition). It’s what gets people visiting your business instead of your competitor’s.

So what is it that makes your company unique? What makes you different from all the other businesses in your industry?

Your potential customers are going to be asking themselves the same thing, so you’d better work out what it is quickly.

Here are some suggestions for how you can develop a USP.

Cartoon of person looking at their competition for use ideas

Look to your competition

I say this a lot, but that’s because you need to analyse your competition regularly. It’s hugely important to knowing where you stand in the industry, how you can improve and what to avoid. If you’re not paying attention, your competition may just get ahead without you even noticing.

Paying attention to your competition also helps you avoid becoming a carbon copy of them.

When it comes to developing your USP, it’s impossible to know what makes you unique without knowing what makes your competitors all the same.

Just as when developing a niche, look at your competitors for any areas that they may have overlooked, any features they may have missed, or any blind spots they might have. You may just find your USP in the forgotten corners of your competitors’ businesses.

Learn what makes your ideal customers tick

You’ve spent hours defining your target market. You’ve researched their likes and dislikes, you’ve developed a voice that appeals to them; the next step is to develop an offer that they can’t refuse. What is it that your target market wants? What needs do they have that perhaps aren’t being fulfilled at the moment?

Get to know your target market, and you’ll be able to find a USP that gets them through the door.

Ask!

Cartoon of business owner asking their customer questions

You know who your target market is. Go find people who fit that description and ask them what they’re looking for.

Many of us have had those thoughts in the back of our minds. ‘I wish … this’ or ‘If only there was a company that would do … this’.

If you don’t ask your target audience what those nagging desires are, you could wind up missing a massive opportunity.

For example. The whole concept of a ‘dog cafe’, likely started life with one simple thought.

‘I wish there was a cafe specifically designed for me to bring my dog’.

Ask your ideal market what they’ve always wanted from a business such as yours and they may give you a ground-breaking idea that becomes the next big thing.

If you could make the perfect business, what would it look like?

If money and time weren’t an object and there was absolutely no risk to your business, what would your perfect business look like? What things do you wish you could offer if you had the chance? Is there a way you could turn any of those dreams into a reality?

By thinking about your ideal business without restrictions, you may realise there’s something you’ve been busting to do with your business.

Give it a try or ask your customers if they would enjoy that feature.

If they say yes and it’s possible, you may have just found your USP.

Solve Problems

Selling is all about solving problems. Your customer has a problem they want to fix and your product or service can fix it for them.

List all the problems that purchasing your product or service can fix (think about the reasons why people buy things). Take a look at your list. Is there a problem in amongst that list that isn’t currently being fulfilled in the industry? Or have you found a particularly unique way of solving that problem?

If you see anything in there that’s a little different, perhaps you can turn that into your USP.

Sell Your Personality

Cartoon of person developing their brand identity by practicing in the mirror

Sometimes you search and search, and come up with nothing.

Perhaps the industry is so overstuffed with businesses all trying to be unique that there’s no niche to be found.

Well, there is one more thing you can base your business around.

Yourself!

As a person and a business owner, you are as much a part of what makes up your business as the products you sell. If you’ve got the confidence and the charisma, turn yourself into your business USP.

If it’s strong, recognisable, engaging and unique, people will buy a personality as easily as they buy a cup of coffee. This personality doesn’t have to stop at you either. It can be something that seeps into every aspect of your company, from the way you write your copy, to the way your staff conduct themselves.

Think of the Old Spice ads, or the fast food restaurant, Wendy’s; well known for toeing the line in its cheeky Facebook posts.

These companies have developed personalities so strong that they’ve literally become the brand. Without it, they’re just another deodorant company, or just another burger joint.

They may not be the best deodorant on the market, or the best fast food in the industry, but they’re certainly some of the most iconic.

So make like a peacock and shake those tail feathers!


When it comes to selling your business, you need to develop a USP that makes you stand out from the crowd. It’s no longer enough to simply be the best.

So stop trying to be the loudest in the competition, and instead try singing a different tune altogether.

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